During last week’s Chicago Teachers Union, UNITE HERE Local 1, SEIU Local 1 and Grassroots Education Movement rally and march against mass school closings in Chicago, CTU President Karen Lewis urged Chicago parents, CTU members and all school employees to stand strong against continued attempts to sabotage education in our city. As CPS and the mayor’s office wage war on our schools and neighborhoods, the union is prepared to do whatever is necessary so our voices are heard. We will fight in the streets and in the courts, but as our president told the crowd of thousands of students, teachers, parents and education advocates, “do not let this moment pass you by.”
We must continue to challenge the status quo, Lewis said, and the condition of one set of schools for children who are relegated to minimum wage careers, and one set of schools for the elites who are taught how to rule the world. The playing field must be level for all, so while the mayor says there will be no further negotiation and the media thinks this is over, we must let them know, brothers and sisters, that this isn’t over until you say it’s over.
Video: CTU President Karen Lewis: ‘This is not our doing’
Members Sit-In, Speak Out During Rally and March
In an act of civil disobedience, more than 120 members of the protest organizing unions UNITE HERE Local 1, SEIU Local 1, the Grassroots Education Movement and the CTU staged a sit-in in the southbound lanes of LaSalle Street outside of City Hall. Among those led away by police and issued citations for “pedestrian failure to exercise due care,” according to attorney Pat Calihan, were SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff and nearly 40 members of the CTU, including Vice President Jesse Sharkey and Recording Secretary Michael Brunson. Click here for a recap.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Here are key dates and events for you to remember in helping the fight against school closings. Please encourage parents and students to attend!
- Thursday, April 4: Pick up materials for community canvasses at locations across the city from 3 to 5 p.m. Join a canvass at that site OR take materials to organize neighborhood outreach at your own school.
- Saturday, April 6 and April 13: How are banks and big businesses getting rich off of school closings? Attend a short, accessible training for parents, students, community activists and CTU members to help understand the economics of schools closings and present new ideas on how to fight for our schools. The training will be followed by a quick, exciting action at a local bank. People will leave with skills and materials they can use to organize events in their own community. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UEW (United Electrical Workers) Hall, 37 S. Ashland.